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robertsi or austinrobertsi - J. Austin Roberts (1 Viewer)


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Dr Austin Roberts (1883-1948) South African zoologist

There is no doubt about the dedication but I found several sources e.g here or here where he is named J. Austin Roberts. I am wondering now what the J. stands for or if this J. is correct at all as here or here or here etc is no J. mentioned.

Maybe this book can through some light on the name?

  • BRAIN, C.K. 1998. Austin Roberts, a Lifelong Devotion to South Africa’s Birds and Beasts. The John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, 195 pages (a scientific biography).
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Interesting remark (and question) Martin!

In my MS I have him (the other way around!) as "Austin J. Roberts (1883–1948)", (there as) commemorated in Briar Warbler Oreophilais robertsi BENSON 1946 (here) as "Prinia robertsi" a k a "Roberts' -" alt. "Roberts's Prinia" or "Roberts’s Warbler".
This new species is named in honour of Dr. Austin Roberts, who has done so much for ornithology in southern Africa.
This bird was earlier called "robertsprinia" in Swedish (in line with "Roberts's Prinia"), but is now named zimbabwesångare (that, in English, would be "Zimbabwe Warbler"). Thereby, as now dated, I haven´t gone the full length checking his full (true) name.

What the "J." (wherever placed) stands for is unknown to me. However I haven´t seen any indication that "Austin Roberts" is, was his (Double) Surname. He is repeatedly called simply (Mr.) Roberts or Dr. Roberts on several places.

In his Classic Birds of South Africa 1940, (cover, dust jacket and title page attached) there´s no sign of any "J." whatsoever. This book is still published and still edited, its 7th Edition, 2005, titled: Roberts´ Bird of Southern Africa (cover also attached).

But now I´m a bit uncertain as well … maybe we´re to forget about that "J."

Anyone know?


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Martin, it looks like there shouldn´t be a "J." anywhere!

More on him here. Feels pretty reliable. No 4 in their List of sources is the book you were looking for.

I guess they didn´t found any "J." either.

I´ll amend my MS and settle for simply "Austin Roberts".

Better to be scarce (and correct) with information, than erroneous in any minor part.

Thanks for pointing this out!
Just wondering how the J was introduced in all the The Eponym Dictionary of... books. Even in the The Eponym Dictionary of Birds (as far as I can see).
The Eponym Dictionary of Birds claims:
Roberts's Warbler Oreophilais robertsi C. W. Benson, 1946 [Alt. Roberts's Prinia, Briar Warbler, Syn. Prinia robertsi]
Grey Penduline-tit ssp. Anthoscopus caroli robertsi Haagner, 1909
African Barred Owlet ssp. Glaucidium capense robertsi J. L. Peters, 1940 NCR [NUI Glaucidium capense ngamiense]
Malachite Kingfisher ssp. Corythornis cristatus robertsi J. L. Peters, 1945 NCR [JS Corythornis cristatus cristatus]
Spike-heeled Lark ssp. Chersomanes albofasciata robertsi Macdonald, 1953 NCR [JS Chersomanes albofasciata alticola]
J. Austin Roberts (1883–1948) was a South African zoologist. During the first half of the 20th century he was the most prominent ornithologist in Southern Africa. He worked at the Transvaal Museum for nearly four decades studying birds (1910–1946). He amassed 30,000 bird skins and 9,000 mammal specimens there. Although he did not have formal academic training, he received several high academic awards and an honorary doctorate. Roberts is best remembered for his Birds of South Africa (1940), a landmark publication in African ornithology which has developed in size and authority with repeated posthumous editions. He died in a traffic accident. The Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary was established in his hometown, Pretoria (1958). Two mammals and two reptiles are named after him.

Still not clear why they introduced the J.
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I can find no indication of a J

Austin Roberts.
Birth3 Jan 1883 Fountain Lodge, Pretoria, S. Africa
Marriage6 May 1914 Pretoria, Transvaal, S. Africa
Death5 May 1948 Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape, South Africa


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